Mid-May rains have been welcomed by thirsty Louisiana crops. Before the rains arrived, things were looking increasingly bleak for areas of the state.

“We were very fortunate to get some nice rains over the weekend and this morning,” said David Lanclos on Monday (May 17). “Central Louisiana got a huge thunderstorm today. Some growers got plenty and some didn’t get enough -- but it rained and that’s great news. There are some spots in north-central and northeast Louisiana that are still hurting. They didn’t get that 1.5-inch rain that other areas did.”

These were “multi-million dollar rains,” said the Syngenta tech service representative for the south Delta. Considering what was happening to crops in the state a few days earlier Lanclos’ claim isn’t an exaggeration.

On May 10, asked to compare early-May conditions for his Mississippi and Louisiana territory, Lanclos said, “It’s really an oxymoron. Consider: It’s raining in Clarksdale, Miss., right now. Meanwhile, I’m on Highway 28 East in Louisiana where it’s incredibly dry. In talking to old-timers down here, they don’t remember it ever being so dry, so early.”

Lanclos said depending on the location in Louisiana, “We’re looking at between six and eight weeks without any appreciable rainfall. From south Louisiana, into central Louisiana up to I-20, it is parched. Really, the line is from I-20 all the way down to points south of Opelousas.”

Thirsty Louisiana corn was “twisting by mid-morning. Believe it or not, it still looks very good. It’s still putting nodes on even though they’re stacking a bit.

“The negative is yield is being determined, right now. Unfortunately it’s being stressed so we know there will be yield implications.”

Milo, like corn, was struggling in the state. “It’s rolling and in desperate need of a rain.”

Meanwhile, cotton looked “to be holding its own. The crop that’s up looks good.”

Soybean growth had slowed considerably. “There’s a lot of concern in the state with growers switching from Group 5s to 4s. That’s six one way and half-dozen the other because a lot of research indicates that a late-Group 4, after May 15, will still suffice and yield equivalent to a Group 5. So, growers may want to delay panic based on the calendar.”

Louisiana growers with access to irrigation had “unrolled pipe early. A farming buddy of mine out of Natchitoches said, ‘The way farming is set up now, the more I work, the less money I make.’ That’s profound: He’s spending money on labor, money on fields, on polypipe and water that he normally doesn’t at this time of year.”

In Lanclos’ Mississippi territory, despite much rainfall, crops were in much better shape.

“In areas around Clarksdale, Yazoo City, and Greenwood there’s been excessive water and some instances where (chemical) products have washed away.”

e-mail: dbennett@farmpress.com